The Warner gymnastics team is made up of one girl. Senior Erin Punt represents the Monarchs with her mother, Denise, as her coach. With career over, she is now hoping someone else will carry the torch.
Erin's mother was a standout gymnast at Milbank and now she coaches her daughter who is the standout at Warner. The Monarchs have never had a gymnastics program, so the Punts had to improvise.
"She started when she was young and by the time she got to seventh grade we needed to figure out a plan in order for her to compete, because she didn't go to school in Aberdeen and Warner didn't have gymnastics," Erin's mother & Coach Denise Punt said.
So the Punts brought gymnastics to Warner. The only problem was they didn't have the equipment needed to practice, so Erin made the trip to Aberdeen to practice with the Golden Eagles.
"It's pretty amazing being able to represent them, but I have never felt like I have been my own team. I practice with Aberdeen Central and go with them to meets. A lot of the time I am with Milbank too. Whatever team I'm with has always made me feel like a part of their team by cheering me on, so I have never felt alone," Warner Senior Gymnast Erin Punt said.
She has qualified for state every year since the seventh grade. This weekend she finished in fifth place and took home the most prestigious award, the Sarah Nitz Senior award. Without teammates to push her how does she stay motivated?
"Not having a team makes it hard to stay motivated. You don't have to compete for spots and you know you're going to compete in the All Around every meet. You have to stay self motivated and push yourself to do better everyday in practice," Punt said.
Warner is known as a powerhouse in several sports and the Punts hope someday gymnastics will be another one.
"I think she sets a very good example. We come from a small town that is known for volleyball and basketball. Those have been very successful teams and Erin has had to carve her own path," Punt said.
"Hopefully someone down the road will see what I did and will want to do that too," Punt said.
Punt was named to the All-state Team and will attend South Dakota State this fall where she hopes to join the cheerleading squad.